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Charles Corm

An Intellectual Biography of a Twentieth-Century Lebanese “Young Phoenician”

Franck Salameh

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Charles Corm: An Intellectual Biography of a Twentieth-Century Lebanese “Young Phoenician”delves into the history of the modern Middle East and an inquiry into Lebanese intellectual, cultural, and political life as incarnated in the ideas, and as illustrated by the times, works, and activities of Charles Corm (1894–1963). Charles Corm was a guiding spirit behind modern Lebanese nationalism, a leading figure in the “Young Phoenicians” movement, and an advocate for identity narratives that are often dismissed in the prevalent Arab nationalist paradigms that have come to define the canon of Middle East history, political thought, and scholarship of the past century. But Charles Corm was much more than a man of letters upholding a specific patriotic mission. As a poet and entrepreneur, socialite and orator, philanthropist and patron of the arts, and as a leading businessman, Charles Corm commanded immense influence on modern Lebanese political and social life, popular culture, and intellectual production during the interwar period and beyond. In many respects, Charles Corm has also been “the conscience” of Lebanese society at a crucial juncture in its modern history, as the autonomous sanjak/Mutasarrifiyya (or Province) of Mount-Lebanon and the Vilayet (State) of Beirut of the late nineteenth century were navigating their way out of Ottoman domination and into a French Mandatory period (ca. 1918), before culminating with the independence of the Republic of Lebanon in 1943. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 250Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8400-4 • Hardback • July 2015 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-4985-1768-3 • Paperback • May 2017 • $46.99 • (£31.95)
978-0-7391-8401-1 • eBook • July 2015 • $84.99 • (£54.95)
Franck Salameh is associate professor of Near Eastern studies at Boston College, Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures, and founding editor in chief of The Levantine Review. He is author of Language Memory and Identity in the Middle East (Lexington Books).
AcknowledgmentsPrologueChapter 1: A Brief Introduction to a Monumental Life-StoryChapter 2: Poet, HumanistChapter 3: Entrepreneur, PatriotChapter 4: Child and Disciple of Humanism; ConclusionsBibliographyIndexAbout the Author
As the struggle over Lebanon's identity continues to unfold, this excellent intellectual biography of one of the major proponents of the Phoenician ideology, claiming a non-Arab ancestry to an essentially Christian Lebanese entity, is a welcome and well-written contribution to the academic and political discourse on Lebanon.
Itamar Rabinovich, Tel Aviv University


An atmospheric, spirited, inspired defense of alternative viewpoints in a Middle East that today mainly features repression, terrorization, and boring absolutism. Franck Salameh introduces us to a neglected Lebanese polymath, an energetic, fascinating personality who represented and promoted a whole wing of Levantine identity and reality. A must-read for anyone open to a multi-dimensional Middle East.
William Harris, University of Otago


English scholarship on Lebanon has tended to ignore the cultural productivity of Lebanese francophone circles and their contribution to the establishment of the country. This book corrects this lacuna by offering the most authoritative account of cultural and intellectual manifestations of Lebanese nationalism until the 1960s. In this sense this book is more than an intellectual biography of Charles Corm. It is an intellectual biography of the generation that founded Lebanon as a modern state. It is written with eloquence and prose befitting the beauty and charm of Corm’s own writing.
Asher Kaufman, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame


As Lebanon will be celebrating the passage of a century since its modern foundation in 1920, Franck Salameh’s magnificent book on Charles Corm could not be more appropriate than ever. It narrates how a group of renaissance men, who called themselves “The Young Phoenicians” with Charles Corm as their leading figure accompanied by such luminaries like Michel Chiha and Sa’id ‘Aql had laid the foundation of modern Lebanon.
Marius Deeb, Johns Hopkins University


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